New Degree Candidates in History 

James Dewitz comes to us from Northern Illinois University, where he earned a BA and an MA in history.  James is fluent in English, Thai, and Spanish, and his academic interests have embraced US relations with Southeast Asia as well as colonialism in general.  His research included oral histories (according to his own account) with “refugees, displaced persons, sex workers, farmers, drug dealers, gun runners, and the politicians that oversee them all.”  He plans to work on  Ph.D. with Katie Brownell in modern US history.

 Zachary Elledge earned his BA and MA in history at Arkansas State University.  He also studied art and architecture in Florence, served a research internship at the US Treasury Department (tracking sanctions on foreign assets), worked as an archival assistant with an Arkansas regional archives, and served as an interpreter at the Parkin Archeology State Park.  His doctoral interests focus on Civil War memory and memorialization, which he will be pursuing under the guidance of Carrie Janney.

 Caitlin Fendley hails from Hamilton, Ontario.  She holds a BA degree from the University of Guelph, where she began studying psychology before migrating to the infinitely more lucrative field of American history.  She has produced a number of studies in the field of medical history, one of which won the Ruth and Eber Pollard Prize in Canadian history.  She will be working on a Ph.D. primarily with Wendy Kline.

 Keith Harris earned his BA at Oklahoma State University where he became interested in the political and economic history of the early American republic.  The recipient of a year-long undergraduate research grant, Keith has produced two significant studies centered on the Madison administration.  He was recruited with a Ross Fellowship, and at Purdue he plans to pursue a Ph.D. working with John Larson.

 Tyler Herber graduated from Huntington University (on the beautiful Wabash River), where he developed a keen interest in Southeast and South Asia, colonialism, and especially the partition of British India following independence.  Tyler is a doctoral student and will be continuing this emphasis under the guidance of Tithi Bhattacharya. 

 McKenzie Isom is obsessed with the 1960s (and she wasn’t even there!).  McKenzie earned her BA from Indiana University where she studied recent US history, sociology, and musicology.  Now she is migrating northward to that well-known center of alternative lifestyles known as Purdue University.  She will seek a doctorate with Nancy Gabin and Michael Morrison.

 Xuening Kong did her undergraduate work at Capital Normal University in Beijing.  Capital Normal features world history, and Xuening found a particular interest in historiography and the various theories that inform and shape our historical productions.  Armed with English, Spanish, and Chinese language skills, she is prepared to explore further the early modern and modern histories of the world.  Her immediate objective is a MA degree, and she will work with Margaret Tillman and Sally Hastings.

 Molly Mersmann graduated from Hanover College in southern Indiana with a BA in history and psychology.  She has worked as an assistant in a variety of labs, archives, and museums, including the Cincinnati History Museum.  Her academic focus has been on the Civil War era and its traumatic impact on American men and women.  She will pursue the Ph.D. with Carrie Janney.

 Allison Page holds a BA from Edgewood College in Madison, Wisconsin, where she produced her senior thesis on racial exclusion in the (“less-than”) United Auto Workers.  Now she plans to pursue an MA working with Nancy Gabin and Neil Bynum. 

Stanislav Pejša has done graduate work at the Charles University, Prague, the Central European University in Budapest, Rutgers-Newark, and the University of Arizona, earning an MA, MS, MLIS, and a Digital Information Management certificate in the process.  He has half a dozen languages in his tool kit, and he is interested in studying European history as a social construct.  Standa works as a data curator in the Purdue Library system, and he will be pursuing his doctorate under the direction of Whitney Walton.

Brett Russler took his BA degree at the Illinois State University at Normal where he studied history and political science.  After college life intervened and he spent several years doing real work in the insurance industry, in the course of which he discovered the important links between the history of insurance and the plight of African Americans both during slavery and since.  Now Brett wants to finish his Ph.D. and dig further into the problems of insurance and race in modern America.  He will study with Neil Bynum.

Meridith Tuttle earned her BA at Eureka College (Dutch Reagan had graduated already).  While at Eureka she mounted a significant study of the last of the imperial Romanovs in Russia and worked summers on the Reagan Research Project.  She has French and Latin language skills and is working on Russian.  She plans to pursue a doctorate in European history with an emphasis on the Russian and Soviet experience.  She will work with Michael Smith. 

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